The Archbishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy, is set to proceed with an ordination later this week that, according to sources in the diocese, is set to “split the diocese”.
On the evening of Thursday 24 February 2022 Archbishop Goldsworthy will preside over the ordination at St George’s Cathedral where four candidates will be made deacon. There are two male and two female candidates. The two male candidates (who we will not name here) are both figures of some significant controversy.
The first had been living in a de facto relationship with a woman for a number of years. The couple have children.
The second candidate is a man who has been in a registered civil union with another man for a number of years.
Neither man made any secret of their domestic arrangements during their four years of formation prior to ordination and davidould.net understands that they and their personal situations were both well-known to diocesan leadership, particularly the first candidate who has served as a senior figure in diocesan organisations.
This latest turmoil for the diocese follows on from the recent controversial appointment of Steven Hilton as Precentor at the Cathedral. Like the ordination candidate, Hilton also has a civil partner.
Unhappiness in the diocese amongst conservatives has been exacerbated since the decision to ordain these candidates is in stark contradiction to Archbishop Goldsworthy’s own stated views on the question of chastity. At a widely-attended meeting of local EFAC (Evangelical Fellowship of the Anglican Communion) representatives on Monday evening, details of meetings with the Archbishop were shared. It was related to the meeting that the Archbishop had expressed that her own understanding of a “chaste” life (the term used in Faithfulness in Service) precluded any sexual activity outside of marriage. Quite clearly the lives of both these candidates did not meet that clear expectation for the substantial majority of their four years of formation prior to ordination. Nevertheless they were allowed to continue in the process.
A conservative leader in the diocese, familiar with the situation, told davidould.net that not only have a number of clergy approached the Archbishop on the matter but also that there are “a stream of wardens and other lay people who have visited and written to the Archbishop”. They have all made it clear to her that they will not be able to attend the ordination at the cathedral on Thursday evening, nor also be able to attend any future events at the cathedral so long as the new Precentor remains on staff.
The first candidate has married very recently. The second candidate removed any evidence of their relationship from their Facebook profile. davidould.net understands that neither of these late moves persuades local orthodox leadership that the fundamental issues have been dealt with. The ball is now definitely in Archbishop Goldsworthy’s court. Will she proceed with an ordination which, by her own expressed standards, ought not to happen? Or will she stand by her own words at the 2021 Diocesan Synod:
I believe that we can, and must faithfully continue to commit to the biblical witness of living out our desire to be held together in Christ, knowing that we all belong in him, and that we cannot do without each other, as members of his one body.2021 PERTH SYNOD PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
The sense amongst the orthodox in Perth is that they increasingly don’t belong and that it appears that the Archbishop might have to do without them.
Archbishop Goldsworthy was asked to comment.
image: Ross Swanborough in PerthNow
This Post Has 7 Comments
It seems to me that the second man could marry his partner in a civil service at a registry office & wait patiently for this year’s General Synod to tear the church apart. On the assumption that Goldsworthy will side with the splitters (a fair bet on her present form), his new position of deacon is assured for life. Ditto for Hilton.
No wonder the ACA is becoming a sick joke. PN
One does wonder if the ACA, like the C of E, if it continues down this path, will be indistinguishable from the community it serves and not in a good way. Surely, if it does not adhere to biblical teaching and canon law, then what is its purpose? I understand the LGBT community rile at the fact they can ‘marry’ in civil ceremonies, but are prevented from doing so in the church. And like Christian baker’s of cakes, opportunities will continue to be sought by activists to push the limits, until no institution disagrees with them or stands in perceived judgement.
That is, indeed, the LGBT+ goal – to ensure there are no institutional disagreements with their ways of living & they have been very successful at it.
In the specific area of Australian Christian churches, the Uniting Church split when it allowed its clergy, individually, to decide whether or not to marry same-sex couples in church. I understand that at this year’s ACA General Synod there will be a big push to bless in church the existing civil marriages of same-sex couples. If that succeeds the ‘progressives’ next demand (a logical one they will claim) is that if we can bless their marriages why can’t we marry them, in church, in the first place?
A split to Gafcon may well then occur.
On a more universal view, I think that organised religions of all stripes have done themselves major damage over many years for many reasons which is why, in Western societies particularly, secularism is the more popular ethos.
On your last point Paul, whilst I agree that organised Western religion has not covered itself with plaudits, particularly historically, the root of its irrelevance surely has to be the enlightenment and the ‘age or reason’. Cammaerts was correct in his belief that men believe in anything, when they stop believing in God, so no real surprise that a hedonistic lifestyle (as compared to one presented by biblical teaching) is preferred!
Re GAFCON Supporter – if only “believing in God” was the simply understood & binary choice you imagine. What was the last count of belief systems in the world, even from just within the Christian denominations? I see some sense in Voltaire’s observation about the link between those who make others believe absurdities (in defiance of reason) & who then commit atrocities.
In his pastoral letter St Paul urges Timothy to “.. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Tim. 4:16. The same message certainly applies today. False teaching and ungodly behaviour amongst ministers of the gospel has dire consequences. Let’s hope and pray that the Archbishop of Perth and the other persons concerned will repent.
It is sad that this makes a mockery of the standards required for clergy in: Faithfulness In Service, the Archbishop’s own requirements and, most importantly, those found in the Pastoral Epistles.